Eco trekking through Morocco’s Atlas Mountains

kasbah du toubkal

At the base of Toubkal. We visited this kasbah before our hike.

There are two places in the world my soul wishes to return to and they are almost opposite in culture and experience, but similar in nature. One is high up in the mountains in the Swiss Alps in an off grid cabin among the glaciers and the wildflowers, and another is to the Atlas Mountains in Morocco with the goats and the argan trees. I guess you could say I prefer mountains and their cooler climes over a beach holiday.

Getting to the Atlas Mountains to start day treks or longer trips through the mountains is as easy as winding your way through Manhattan. Actually maybe it’s even easier. Once you get a flight or train into Marrakech, ask a taxi at the airport –– or walk outside the airport taxi and find a local taxi –– and ask them to take you to your destination point. Your starting point is less than a couple hours drive into the mountains. 

Finding adventure in Morocco and around the Marrakech area is easy. The hardest part about getting to Morocco 10 years ago was getting a travel Visa. At the time the country I was traveling from wasn’t recognized by Morocco. It was a fairly stressful process getting entry through a tour company I had no intention of traveling with. A dedicated person had to find us at the airport and hope they could help us get through. Back then I should have known that a few bucks at the airport would have helped us get inside just like that.

But times have changed and Morocco has caught up. No more grey areas. There are now simple online services that offer official e-Visas to any port in Morocco, whether you are coming in by plane, train, boat or automobile. This service is completely online (find the online application form here) —you can submit your request using any electronic device with an internet connection. And with an approved e-Visa you can travel to Morocco and stay for up to 30 days for business or tourism or both.

About my journey: I started at the Kasbah du Toubkal and from there overnighted and trekked by day through villages nearby. Having knowledge of a little French or Arabic can be helpful though and knowing French probably made my experience that much easier and authentic.

Although once you get to the guest houses or place you want to stay most locals will know some basic English or your language – enough to get by.

We had some wild adventures in Morocco and walked by wildlife and madrassas chanting prayers. There were soccer games encouraged by electric guitars. Homemade goat yogurt and mountain delights.

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